Aging as a motive for literary retranslation
A survey of case studies on retranslation
One of the concepts that is regularly referred to in studies on retranslation, but has not yet been extensively investigated or operationalized, is the (alleged) aging of (literary) translations. While the assumption that every generation deserves its own translation of canonical literary works is taken for granted, particularly by non-academic critics of literary (re)translations, this notion does not seem to be as prevalent in academia. In this article, I review the scholarly literature on retranslation in order to determine how the concept of aging has been defined and described in translation studies so far. The findings of this survey will subsequently be tested out with a number of case studies on literary retranslation, allowing us to determine the relative importance of the concept and define its different aspects. Finally, I present the first results of an empirical pilot study on aging in literary translation, and will suggest several lines for further investigation that would allow translation studies to further operationalize the concept for future, more comprehensive and systematic analyses of aging in all its different (linguistic, translational, and cultural) aspects.
Keywords: retranslation theory, literary translation, linguistic change, translational aging, cultural aging
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